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Kemp announces economic development mission to Republic of Korea

Gov. Brian Kemp announced this week his plans to travel to South Korea for an economic development mission at the end of June, his first international trip since taking office.

“We have experienced significant, positive growth in our relationship with Korea over the past few years,” Kemp said. “I am excited to travel to South Korea and continue the international efforts that have made Georgia a global competitor for investment and trade and the top state in the nation to do business.”

While in Korea, Kemp and representatives from the Georgia Department of Economic Development will participate in four days of business meetings. The trip will include visits with Georgia’s existing Korean industry, including SK Innovation, Kia, Sangsin Brake and Hanwha Q Cells. Kemp will also meet with Korean companies considering investing in Georgia.

Additionally, Kemp will meet with Nak-yon Lee, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea; U.S. Ambassador to Korea Harry Harris; and other Korean government officials to discuss relations between Georgia and South Korea.

“Georgia has long been focused on our relationship with Korea, a partnership that spans more than thirty years and has led to investments from many great Korean companies,” said Pat Wilson, commissioner of the Department of Economic Development. “In the last year alone, we have seen an unprecedented amount of investment and job creation in Georgia by Korean businesses. Like all of our international missions, this trip will be critically important for our economic development efforts as we seek to create new relationships, build on existing partnerships, and continue the momentum we have seen in recent years.”

Kemp and his team will depart Georgia for Korea on Saturday, June 22, and return on Friday, June 28.

Kemp appoints first Hispanic insurance commissioner

Gov. Brian Kemp made history this by appointing Doraville Police Chief and Brig. Gen. John King to serve as Georgia’s insurance commissioner and safety fire commissioner. King is the first Hispanic insurance commissioner and statewide constitutional officer.

“John King is a decorated soldier, passionate community advocate and devoted law enforcement leader with decades of experience,” Kemp said. “As Georgia’s next insurance commissioner and safety fire official, John will put hardworking Georgians first by shaking up the status quo. He will restore faith in the Department of Insurance and will always do the right thing – even when no one is looking. Chief King has once again answered the call for public service. I know he will continue to be a bold leader and champion for the people.”

“I am grateful for Gov. Brian Kemp and the opportunity he has given me to continue my service to the people of Georgia,” said King. “My decades of experience in law enforcement have prepared me for this important job in state government. I look forward to restoring trust in the Department of Insurance and providing leadership that protects consumers, promotes public safety, and provides a bright and promising future for all Georgians.”

King started his law enforcement career more than 30 years ago in the Atlanta Police Department, where he worked to undermine organized crime. He started at the Doraville Police Department in 1993 and became chief of police nine years later.

A native of Mexico, King has worked diligently to keep his community safe. He created and implemented several youth education, crime-prevention and anti-gang programs. To help build strong relationships with diverse populations, King hired bilingual officers, placed numerous languages on his fleet of police cars and partnered with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to enhance economic growth in the community.

King also serves as a brigadier general in the U.S. Army National Guard as director of the Joint Staff for the Georgia Department of Defense. He is the former commander of the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and has deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq and Afghanistan.

During his tenure in the military, King earned a Bronze Star Medal and Combat Infantry Badge, meritorious service medals and a NATO award for his service in both Bosnia and Afghanistan. He also received the El Salvador gold medal for achievement in 2006.

King received his Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and public administration from Brenau University and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.

Graves opposes spending bill

U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., Republican leader of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, opposed the Fiscal Year 2020 spending bill this week. The bill increases spending over last year’s amount by 8%, or $1.8 billion.

It also changes current policy in the District of Columbia to allow taxpayer funding for abortion and would block funds from being used to build a wall and secure the U.S. southern border. The bill passed out of the full Appropriations Committee and is expected to head to the House floor for a vote in the coming weeks.

“While there are some areas of agreement, the bill as drafted is not something I can support. It removes important protections for life and would block funds from being used to secure our southern border. It also skyrockets spending by another $1.8 billion. We cannot afford to spend more on general government activities if we want to leave this country’s pocketbook in better shape for our kids and grandkids. Just because we can spend it, doesn’t mean we should,” Graves said.

Perdue addresses presidential executive order

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement after President Donald Trump signed the Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products Executive Order.

“Our current regulatory framework has impeded innovation instead of facilitating it. With this executive order, President Trump is once again putting America first and setting us on a course to modernize our regulatory framework so that it works for our farmers, ranchers and consumers. We need all the tools in the toolbox to meet the challenge of feeding everyone now and into the future – if we do not put these safe biotechnology advances to work here at home, our competitors in other nations will,” Perdue said. “Science-based advances in biotechnology have great promise to enhance rural prosperity and improve the quality of life across America’s heartland and around the globe. I applaud President Trump for signing this important executive order that will help America’s farmers do what we aspire to do at USDA: Do Right and Feed Everyone.”

The Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products Executive Order calls for, among other things, regulatory streamlining in order to facilitate the innovation of agricultural biotechnology to the market efficiently, consistently and safely under a predictable, consistent, transparent and science-based regulatory framework.

Isakson introduces legislation to modernize public health data

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., introduced bipartisan legislation this week to improve the nation’s public health data systems to ensure high quality, timely and accurate information sharing and protect the public from health threats that may include viruses, prescription drug abuse and other potentially preventable health problems.

Isakson introduced the bipartisan Saving Lives Through Better Data Act with U.S. senators Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Angus King, I-Maine.

“The United States is behind the curve on the collection and modernization of public health data that could improve health and even save lives,” said Isakson, a member of two Senate committees that oversee health care issues. “The Saving Lives Through Better Data Act will help public health agencies like the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention improve tracking, data-sharing and reporting on public health threats through eliminating wasteful duplication, enhancing public-private partnerships, and other avenues to improve and modernize care in the 21st century.”

The act would improve public health data infrastructure by investing in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and authorizing $100 million each year for fiscal years 2020 through 2024 to:

♦ Award grants to public health departments to improve data collection and analysis, simplify provider reporting and support earlier disease detection and response.

♦ Improve interoperability and eliminate duplicative requirements for public health data systems utilized by the CDC.

♦ Develop public-private partnerships to support expansion and modernization of electronic case reporting and public health data systems.

♦ Develop a strategy and implementation plan to update and improve the CDC’s public health data systems and support improvement of state, local, tribal and territorial public health data systems.

Perdue proposes changes to funding process

U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., a member of the Senate Budget Committee, is proposing changes to fix Congress’s funding process. Over the past four years he has met with policy experts, outside groups, retired members of Congress and his colleagues from both parties and chambers to study best practices and highlight the flaws of the current funding process.

The Fix Funding First Act is the culmination of Perdue’s efforts to change the way Washington works.

“Anyone can see that Washington’s funding process is totally dysfunctional. Enough excuses – it’s time to find a solution,” said Perdue. “Since I first came to the United States Senate, many of us have consistently called for changing this broken funding process. The reality is Congress has only funded the government on time four times since the Budget Act of 1974 was signed into law, and the last time was in 1996 — more than 20 years ago. On top of that, Congress has kicked the can down the road 186 times with continuing resolutions and allowed the government to shut down 21 times. That’s unacceptable, and it only creates grave uncertainty for our military.

“For the past four years, we have looked at best practices in states, other countries and businesses. What is needed is a politically neutral platform that will fund the government on time every year, without the drama. To do that, I’m convinced that we need real consequences for members of Congress if they don’t get the job done. In addition, we need to make structural changes in the process to support funding the government on time every year. Congress can and should do better for the American people, and this is a necessary first step to reining in our $22 trillion national debt. We will not solve the debt crisis unless and until we fix this funding crisis.”

The Fix Funding First Act would:

♦ Change the federal government’s fiscal year to match the calendar year, giving Congress adequate time to complete the funding process, and eliminates spending bill delays.

♦ Only require 302a allocations to set top line spending levels for the two year period.

♦ Make the funding agreement a joint resolution signed by the president, giving it the force of law.

♦ Set new milestones before state work periods and imposes consequences, such as ‘No Funding, No Recess’ and ‘No Funding, No Pay.’

♦ Require the Senate Budget Committee to report out a five-year bipartisan strategic plan every two years. This plan will include a target for the ratio of the public debt-to-GDP, federal revenue, discretionary spending, and mandatory spending.

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